tv U.S. Senate CSPAN September 29, 2015 2:00pm-4:01pm EDT
the house. to theou know him back california state legislature. about him as a young state legislature. the two things that strike me as most remarkable is his ability to interact with people in the where they are and find a middle ground that moves -- but, not organizationally i've never known anyone to do as much as he can. that very much driven in respect. he is making sacrifices. man ande is a family spending quite a bit of time away from his family in order to change the direction of this country. i admire that in norma sleep. -- enormously.
he will be one of the farthest and fastest rising members of congress. we are talking with tom mcclintock. john is up next. caller: good morning and thank you for taking my call. i would just like to know where is the future of the united states? the people are tired of the same thing over and over again. we have new leadership. we are getting a new house republican. i feel that we need change. we need somebody in there to get things done. nothing gets done. i think you should try to work together. you should put money in our pockets and get things done now and not later. if we get mr. trump and their, are you going to work with mr. trump question mark --? things backet the
in the united states. we want to bring it leadership. we need somebody in there to get things done. what you going to do to help the people money back in their pockets? i hope you could do this and i know it seems to me that nothing is going to get done. it's going to be a new person and nothing is going to get done. caller: if you're expecting overnight miracle, you are going to be disappointed. i get an earful every week for my constituency. we voted all these changes and nothing has happened. my response might not be satisfying, but it's the truth. our government was not designed to turn on the outcome of a single election. it was designed not to turn on a single election. it takes a series of directions.
>> host: we have heard from callers and kevin mccarthy doesn't represent too big of a term. speaker boehner's right-hand man to become the next speaker. >> guest: don't forget the majority leader is elected quite independently of the speaker. the speaker doesn't point that majority leader. the majority leader is elected by the republican conference answers the republican conference. obviously, being the number two position in the house he is close identified with speaker boehner, but-- >> host: speaker boehner endorsed him on friday. >> guest: i think you will see a broad cross-section of the conference endorsed him,
conservatives like me as well as more moderate folks likes speaker boehner. the overall-- and i think that is a testament to kevin's consensus the wind the building. i think conservatives are going to be-- they will find him in improvement over the current leadership, but again they should not expect miracles. that comes after a series of elections and the like i said we are well underway of that. but, until there is a new president we will not be able to make the changes in law that are necessary to restore the founding principles of this country. what we have done is to completely shut down the obama legislative agenda. that's why he is resorting to issuing executive orders, many illegally. i think the courts will strike down some of them and i think the next president in about 480
days is going to have a very busy inaugural afternoon rescinding the rest. >> host: you are counting down those days. germantown, maryland, life democrats. good morning. >> caller: good morning. i wanted to ask the congressman, i have been trying to understand republican logic. we know that israel does state sponsors of abortion. will the republican be voting to stop aid to israel as they are to try to stop aid to planned parenthood? >> guest: frankly, i don't know israel's position on public funding of abortion, which is the issue here and that is really irrelevant to the question of peace in the middle east. i don't think there is any question that iran is our only reliable ally in that troubled region. the survival of israel is absolutely essential to the
security of the united states because it's absolutely essential to the ultimate civility being restored to that region. civilization being restored to that region. so, i think our support of israel is important and should hinge on policy differences between our country on domestic issues. >> host: martin is waiting line for independence. mark, you are on with congressman mcclintock. >> caller: good morning. might question has to do with the functioning of congress. you mentioned as we all know that the republicans have had control of the boat houses for a short time. you mentioned specifically how it democrats have been able to block votes. when the democrats had control of both houses where the contract-- republicans also able to do that? >> guest: they did in the senate, but not to the same extent. my problem with the senate is
procedural question, that 600 threshold is a perversion that is reasonable with the fundamental parliamentary principle that it should take two thirds to close the debate. if one-- one third want to continue debate it should continue, but that assumes there's an actual debate when people are actually on the floor speaking to one another and it assumes that debate is germane to the immediately pending question. this parliamentary rule has been perverted over the years and now just a 60 vote procedural hurdle to take up legislation in the senate. that is a serious problem and needs to be addressed by the senate. >> host: line for republicans is is up next. camera, good morning. >> caller: thank you for taking my call. i'm calling to speak in opposition to tom mcclintock and in opposition of kevin mccarthy of the new speaker. mr. mcclintock represents
everything that speaks-- that is being swept away. times are changing in the republican party. we need a conservative speaker and we need to follow through on what the republicans promise. we need replacement of obamacare. we need tax reform and we need immigration enforcement and mr. mcclintock is old school and time to change. >> host: who would be your pick? >> it afternoon, everyone. have you know we voted closure 77-19 and we had to members opposite who would have voted and it would've been 79-19. either very late tonight or first thing in the morning we will be sending that to the house where i'm optimistic that it will pass. this is a good time to talk
about how we ended up where we are. the senate passed the budget, which hadn't happened in four of the last five years. we marked up all of the appropriation bills and reported them out of committee which has not happened and i think six years. then, our democratic friends because they objected to the spending level in the budget prevented us from going to any of the appropriate in bills. thereby, forcing negotiation in effect that will occur over the next couple of months. it is really not the way we ought to run things around here and i hope that we in the fall negotiation can get some kind of agreement on the top line for next year so we can finally at long last get back to acting on each appropriation bill separately. it's not the way to do business and for the senate minority to put us in this position again was very regretful, frankly.
i think it's not the way we ought to do business. so, the way forward is we will give our democratic friends an opportunity to vote again on the preparation bill. many have supported in committee and even sent out press releases bragging about the appropriation bill they are now not letting us proceed to and we will give them an opportunity to maybe have a second thought about that. also, consider other preparation bills like the there can't be a bill, for example. other items we will turn to, the defense authorization bill conference report we understand is close to final if not final. obviously, we want to pass that quickly and get that down to the president's. with that, let me turn to the senator. >> you are aware of that planned parenthood videos that has provoked such a terrific emotional and moral repulsing
hearing capital hill and across the country. the house has done what it can do to deal with this issue, passing the capable bill. but, there are some who would have you believe that what we are doing on the continuing resolution to the end of the pro-life agenda from republicans ended that is not the case. i assure you, we will continue to take up and challenge our democratic colleagues and the president to recognize that the united states needs to join the vast majority of developed nations in eliminating late term abortions after the viability of an unborn baby. many states have done that including my stay, the state of texas. many states have taken money that otherwise would go to planned parenthood and transfer it for women's health issues to
community health centers and the like you're there will be additional votes for consideration by using budget reconciliation, which as you know would only require 51 votes in the united states senate, so this debate over the life issues is not going to end with the passage of this clean continuing resolution. it will continue. >> there is been a lot in the news about vladimir putin's increased activities in the middle east. this past weekend he said he was not a gangster. well, he certainly is a thug and a bully and he uses energy, he uses energy to hold many nations hostile-- hostage or the high cost he is able to charge. president obama has opportunity to do something about that by eliminating the ban on the united states exporting crude oil. by keeping the crude oil band in place the president chris our own economy and makes it harder
for us poor jobs in the economy carried this past week general pretorius was in congress and he testified that vladimir putin is ultimately going to run out of money. we can help that process along by putting energy supplies from the united states on the market, selling it to our friends around the world who want to buy that. that gives them a better opportunity to buy cheaper oil and not be held hostage by vladimir putin. there are many weapons you can use in this world and i think it will be just as effective with the barrel of oil as you can with the barrel of a gun. energy is called the master resource for a reason. the united states has an abundance amount of energy and we should use those and it's time for president obama to give an opportunity for us to export and sell our energy overseas. he has given the same opportunity to iran at the lift sanctions as a result of the iran nuclear deal.
>> i think everyone is relieved we are keeping the government open. lets me make two points about the appropriations process this year. as leader mcconnell said, we passed a tough budget resolution. it said strict preparation's brawl 12 are subcommittees. unfortunately, we are not able to bring those separately to the floor because democrats are insisting on a 60 vote threshold to even consider those. but, please understand and americans should understand that in all of those 12 appropriation bills that have been reported out of the appropriate committee, we meet the budget limits and every single instance. in other words, we do not exceed the limits on spending that we impose in this very tough budget resolution. also, americans should know in terms of fighting what we believe is that egregious
executive overreach of this administration, the 12 individual appropriate bills contain writer after writer after writer in a strong statement that we intend to rein in what we view as the illegal action of the overreach of the administration in many of those areas. now, unfortunately, we won't get to those until october, at the earliest. i hope we can say that many of those writers in the negotiation process that will go forward, but please realize that in terms of the budget limits on all of the appropriation areas, we are under the limits in every one of those instances. >> when will you sit down with president obama to negotiate that top line number and are you looking for something in fiscal year 2016 and 2017? >> we would like to settle the top line for both years, so next
year we can have a regular appropriations process. the president-- >> we will break away here is the u.s. senate is gambling inuk to continue debate onm contemporary government funding g in atlanta with representatives from our negotiating partners in the proposed trans-p -- trans-pc partnership. many are hoping to conclude talks and finalize a deal over the next few days. now, as you know, mr. president, i was an original author of the legislation that renewed trade promotion authority, or t.p.a., earlier this year. i fought ex-strombly hard to renew it because i believe it is an absolutely essential tool to ensure that we get the very best trade agreements possible. and for years i've been one of the most outspoken proponents in congress for full engagement in the various trade agreements that have been under negotiation, including the t.p.p.
the strong trans-pacific partnership agreement could greatly enhance our nation's ability to compete in an increasingly global marketplace and resolve a healthier and more jobs that come with more u.s. trade. when talking about the 12 countries currently taking part in these negotiations, we're talking about 40% of the global economy. as a group, t.p.p. countries represent the largest market for our goods and services exports. trade with these countries already supports an estimated 4 million u.s. jobs and with a good trade agreement in place, i believe we could do even better. the asi asia-pacific region whee this is focused is one of the most economically vi vibrant and fastest growing areas of the world. the world economy will grow by more than $20 trillion over the next five years and nearly half of that growth will be in asia.
unfortunately, our share of exports to the asia-pacific has been on a decline, as exports to the region lag behind overall u.s. export groanl. -- export growth. one reason u.s. companies have lost market share in this important part of the world is that many countries in the world maintain steep barriers to u.s. exports while they've been negotiating to remove many of the same types of barriers for other countries, most notely for places like -- most notably for places like china. they imoaf tariffs that are five times higher than the average u.s. tariff. their duties on u.s. agricultural products often reach triple digits. there are also numerous other barriers such as regulatory barriers. these obstacles and increased global competition have made it
increasingly difficult for u.s. companies to remain competitive in asia. put sumly, a strong t.p.p. agreement is the best tool we could have to increase the growth of u.s. exports through the asia-pacific region. there are also important strategic and security reasons to support a strong t.p.p. agreement. we've all seen in recent years how the economies of our trans-pacific negotiating partners have been shaped by china's expanding economic influence. i think we would all prefer that the u.s. remain a leader -- the leader in world trade if we want to maintain and spend our influence in the asia-pacific, it is essential that we more fully engage in that region. a strong t.p.p. agreement will facilitate that engagement and help ensure that trade patterns develop under a u.s. model operating under u.s. rules and
applying u.s. standards. a strong t.p.p. agreement can help us create high-paying jobs through increased exports as well as help secure our strategic and economic position in the asia-pacific region. but to do all that, we need a strong agreement. that is why i have been pushing the obama administration to negotiate wisely in order to reach a t.p.p. agreement that advances our nation's interests and provides significant benefits for american workers and job creators. but despite these obvious advantages to concluding a t.p.p. agreement, i think it is critically important that the administration are take the the administration take the time necessary to get the agreement right. a number of key issues are outstanding and how they are resolved will go a long way to determining whether i can support the final agreement. our country has a long history of negotiating and reaching high-standard trade agreements.
while they haven't all been perfect, our existing trade agreements have, in my view, advanced our interests in foreign markets and strengthened our own economy. there are a number of reasons why historically our trade negotiators have fought long and hard to get gold-standard agreements. the most obvious reason is that anything less is unlikely to pass through congress. if the administration is serious about not only getting an agreement but getting an agreement passed, they need to make sure they get our country the best deal possible. if that means continuing negotiations beyond atlanta, so be it. getting a good agreement will be worth the wait. over the years i've let out clearly what i think a good agreement looks like. these are embodied in the recently enacted t.p.a. law. if the administration and our negotiating partners do conclude
an agreement this week, they can be sure that i will examine it very quaiflly to be sure -- very carefully to be sure it meets these standards. as i have stated many times before, if the agreement falls short, i will not support it. i don't think i'd be alone on that. mr. president, i'm as big a proponent of expanding u.s. trade as you'll find in this chamber, with the possible exception of you. and on concept, i very much support the idea of a trans-pacific partnership. while i worked years to get a t.p.a. bill through congress, i will not support just any deal, whether it is this or any other future administration that wants to sign it. we need to get a good deal. as i've said, we need to get the best deal possible. no one, at least no one from our side of the negotiations, should be in a hurry to close talks, if it means getting less than optimal -- a less tha less-thanl
result for our country. i don't believe anyone in the administration wants to reach an agreement that will not pass congress. i think our negotiators understand these concerns. my hope is that, as they move through the latest rounds of -- round of talks in atlanta this week, they consider what it will take to get a deal through congress. if you look at the bipartisan coalition that supported our t.p. aaa. bill, you should get a pretty good idea of the balance it will take to get support here in the senate and in the house. put systemly, if t.p.p. does not reflect that balance, it is hard to see how it will be successfully enacted into law. as always, mr. president, i am an optimist. i know we can get a good deal here. and for my parkts i'm willing to do -- for my parkt for my part,g to do all i can to make sure we do. i will be watching closely to
see what happens in atlanta this week. all of us have an interest in the outcome of these negotiations. in the end, those of us who supported t.p.a. and its promise of better trade terms for u.s. workers and expanded market access for american goods and services won't be disappointed -- will not be distanted at th t the outcome. with that, i yield the floor. ms. collins: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from maine. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise to support reauthorizing the perkins loan program, which will expire tomorrow, september 30, if the senate does not act. yesterday the house of representatives passed legislation to extend this vital program for one year. i urge my senate colleagues to support this bill and send it
immediately to the president for his signature. i want to recognize and thank my colleagues, senator balance bal, senator casey, senator portman for their leadership in highlighting the importance of this program. i am pleased to join with them in introducing a senate resolution urging its extension. mr. president, since 1958, the perkins loan program has helped to make college affordable for millions of students who have financial need. in the state of maine, more than 5,000 students received a perkins loan last year, providing $9.2 million in aid. last friday i had a conversation
with the president of the university of maine, who told me just how critical per ki perkins are to maine students. perkins loans are a critical part of a college's and a student's financial aid resources. these loans help to fill gaps beyond what is available flew -- available through the department of education's direct-loan program and a family's ability to pay. a perkins loan can meet that additional need so that students do not have to resort to borrowing through private or higher-cost loans and, most of all, so that they can remain in school. perkins borrowers are predominantly from lower-income families. for example, at the university
of maine last year, 64% of perkins borrowers had family incomes of $40,000 or less. the perkins loan gramm i progras campus-based. that means that participating colleges and universities administer the loans. when students graduate, they make payments directly to their colleges and universities, and those payments are used to make new loans to other students through a revolving fund. these revolving funds are a combination of a federal contribution and an institutional match. now, i think it's important to understand that congress has not had to appropriate funds for the perkins loan program since 2004 because of this revolving fund
concept. but institutions continue to be able to assist needy students through this self-sustaining program. that is why we simply cannot allow it to lapse. as a member of the senate health, education, labor, and pensions committee, i know that our committee is committed to the reauthorization of the higher education act, and i strongly support that effort. in the meantime, however, we must ensure that there is not a lapse in the financial assistance provided to students under the perkins loan program. as i mentioned earlier, the house has passed a bill that extends the authority for the perkins program for an additional year and does not
authorize any additional federal funds. students who receive a perkins loan during this academic year and remain in the same academic program will be eligible to receive future perkins loans. mr. president, we only have one day before the perkins loan program expires. students at our colleges and universities are looking at us. they are depending on us to ensure that this vital and proven program does not expire. i urge my colleagues to pass the house-passed legislation so that the perkins loan program can continue. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent to submit for the record a letter from the chancellor of
the university of maine system in support of reauthorization of the perkins loan program. and, again, i want to -- the presiding officer: without objection. ms. collins: thank you, mr. president. again, i want to commend my colleagues, including the presiding officer, senator port portman, an and, and my colleage from wisconsin who has been a leader on this issue as well. thank you, mr. president. mr. mcconnell: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the senate proceed to the immediate consideration of h.r. 3614, which was received from the house. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: h.r. 3614, an act to amend title 49, united states code, to extend authorizations for the airport improvement program and so forth and for other purposes. the presiding officer: is there objection to proceeding to the measure? without objection. the senate will proceed to the
measure. mr. mcconnell: i ask unanimous consent the bill be read a third time and passed, the motion to reconsider be laid upon the table, and any statements relating to the bill appear at this point in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: mr. president, i have ten unanimous consent requests for committees to meet during today's session of the senate. they have the approval of the majority and minority leaders. i ask unanimous consent these requests be agreed to and printed in the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. mcconnell: i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: snoment wisconsin. ms. baldwin: thank you, mr. president. much attention has appropriately been focused upon our next 36 hours in the congress. a lot of attention, again, appropriately focused on whether there would be a government shutdown for failure to pass a continuing resolution.
and now we believe that that is hopefully going to be avoided. but in just under 36 hours there are a number of other vital programs that will expire or lapse or sunset if this congress does not take appropriate action. and i am here to join my colleagues, senator collins and in a moment senator ayotte, to call attention to one of those critical programs, one of those vital programs, and that is the federal perkins loan program which the authorization of which will expire in less than 36 hours if we do not take collective action in this body. mr. president, i am here today to call on our colleagues across
the aisle to join me in supporting the extension of the federal perkins loan program. already we've seen encouraging bipartisan support for the program here in the senate. the presiding officer and senator collins, senator kirk, senator ayotte and just today senator thune have all joined me and more than 20 democrats last week in introducing a resolution highlighting the importance of the federal perkins loan program and urging its extension. and yesterday our colleagues in the house of representatives unanimously passed a measure that would extend the program for one year. and i'm hoping that this body will do exactly the same. and while i look forward to a
broader conversation about improving federal support for students as we look to reauthorize the higher education act, we simply cannot sit idly by and watch the perkins loan program expire as america's students are left with such uncertainty. since 1958 the federal perkins loan program has been successful in helping americans access affordable higher education with low-interest loans for students who cannot borrow or afford more expensive private student loans. in my home state of wisconsin, the program provides more than 20,000 low-income students with more than $41 million in aid.
but, mr. president, the impact of this program isn't just isolated to the badger state. in fact, the federal perkins loan program aids over 500,000 students with financial need each year, across 1,500 institutions of higher education. the schools originate, service and collect the fixed interest rate loans. and what's more institutions maintain loans available for future students through a revolving fund. since the program's creation, institutions have invested millions of dollars of their own funds into the program. and in addition to making higher education accessible for low-income students, the program serves as an incentive for people who wish to go into public service as careers by
offering targeted loan cancellations for specific professions in areas of high national need, such as teaching and nursing and law enforcement. mr. president, as a member of the senate help committee -- health, education, labor and pensions committee -- and as a united states senator representing a state with a rich history of investment and cherishing of higher education, it is a top priority for me to fight to ensure the federal perkins loan program continues for generations to come. i'm fighting for students like benjamin wooten. benjamin is a 2014u.w. madison graduate and a small business
owner from genoa city in wisconsin whose family fell on hard times while he was doing his higher education. ben shared with me -- and i quote -- "the fact that i did not have to pay interest while i was in school was a huge help to me. i was attending school full time, working and trying to live on a meager budget. i am grateful -- i am a grateful and successful small business owner. i paid my loan off in full about a year ago with pride and excitement. i know that when i repaid my loan, it was returned to a revolving fund and will be lent back out to other students in need. that's the end of ben's quote. but i'm also fighting for students like brittany mcadams. brittany is a medical school
student with a passion for pediatrics and helping the most vulnerable among us. something that i would add doesn't always yield significant paycheck, especially in comparison to some of her medical school peers. brittany said -- and i quote -- "i want to be able to treat patients from all socioeconomic levels despite their ability to pay. in other words, i want to do important work for less money than most other physicians. the perkins loan is so valuable because it does not collect interest while we are in school. to me, that says that government believes that what i am doing with my life is important, that our country needs more doctors willing to tackle primary care, that while we need to pay for our graduate degrees, that they are going to do their part to
make it just a bit easier. the perkins loan makes me feel valued and respected and even more passionate about my work. that's the end of that quote. finally, i'm here today fighting for students like nagali sparr. nagali was raced by a single immigrant mother who worked two full-time jobs. she attended ten different schools in three different states before she finished high school. without the federal perkins loan program, naoli says her opportunity to get a college loan education would have been -- quote -- "an illusory dream." today naoli is the first in her family to finish college and is now in her last year of medical school and is planning to work with those who are underserved
in our urban communities. she finished by telling me -- quote -- "the perkins loan program helped me reach this point, and its existence is essential to provide that opportunity for other young adults wanting to believe in themselves and to empower their communities to be better. please save it." end quote. mr. president, you don't have to look very far to find the significant impact of the federal perkins loan program, the significant impact that it has on america's students. there are thousands of stories like the few that i just shared representing thousands and thousands of students who are still benefiting from the opportunities provided to them by this hugely successful program. let's show the american people
and the 500,000 students impacted by this program that we can come together, that we can find a bipartisan and commonsense solution. mr. president, i urge my colleagues to immediately take up and pass the house bill so that we can avoid another crisis of our own creation and put america's students and our nation's future first. thank you, mr. president, and i yield back. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new hampshire. ms. ayotte: thank you, mr. president. i rise today to join my colleagues. i want to thank senator baldwin from wisconsin for the speech that she just gave and for her leadership, as well as yours,
mr. president, on the resolution to extend the federal perkins loan program. this is something that we should take up and pass right now. there's strong bipartisan support to do so. and yesterday the house of representatives passed the higher education extension act in 2015 which would extend this important program for an additional year. but if the senate does not act by tomorrow, this program which helps the most financially needy students receive a college education will expire. and we can't let that happen. i've heard from students, colleges in my state, universities, financial aid administrators who have urged us to act, to make sure that we
continue this program which allows students with exceptional financial need to have access to low-interest loans that they need so that they can get the higher education so that they can live the american dream and contribute to our society and making sure that they have that access is so critical. in new hampshire, approximately 5,000 students received a perkins loan during the last academic year. across the country, as senator baldwin mentioned, over 500,000 students received a perkins loan during the 2013-2014 academic year. so that's 500,000 students across this country that will be impacted, their access to higher education negatively impacted if we do not take up the house-passed bill and immediately pass it in this body. the cost of higher education in
the united states continues to skyrocket. my home state of new hampshire has the highest average student loan debt in the country, either putting college out of reach for too many or requiring students to take on substantial amounts of debt in order to get a college education that is often hard to repay, especially with the first job that they received right out of college. there are several things we must do to address the issue of rising college costs, including, in my view, requiring schools to have more skin in the game and providing more transparency for students and for parents. but as we stand here today, there is one thing right now that we can do to help make college just a little bit more affordable, especially for low-income students and families. and that's by taking up and
passing the house bill to extend the federal perkins loan program for one more year. allowing perkins to expire would mean that hundreds of thousands of low-income students across the country could see a decrease on average of about $2,000 in their student aid packages. for many, that could put college out of reach because they're counting on it. and if we don't take this up now, we'll be in a position of really leaving those students hanging, and we should not do that, and we should not allow this to happen. so i want to again thank my colleague from wisconsin. i want to thank the presiding officer for his leadership from ohio. again, this has such strong bipartisan support. i hope we do it today. let's do it now. let's make sure that we extend the perkins loan program like
the house did for another year and ensure that we can work together to make college more affordable for everyone so that everyone has the opportunity to live and achieve the american dream. thank you, mr. president. with that, i yield the floor. a senator: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from pennsylvania. mr. casey: thank you, mr. president. i rise to speak about the perkins loan program as well. we've heard a number of
important prengz here about the critical nature of this program to students across the country who are trying to fulfill the american dream, and one way to do that is to have access to higher education. i've often said that in the context of early learning where you are talking about early learning programs, pre-kindergarten programs, that if kids learn more now, they will learn more later. the linkage of the bond between learning and earning is at the core of what we're talking about when it comes to higher education as well. it has become so essential to be able to have the benefit of a higher education b to be able to learn and to grow, but also to get the best job you can to be able to move forward. one of the ways that young people are able to do that is by having access to perkins loans.
they are fixed rate loans, they are low interest loans, and they are meant for students who, as we have heard before on this floor, have exceptional financial needs. just, for example, in pennsylvania, in the 2013-2014 fiscal year, i should say school year, nearly 40,000 students in pennsylvania at more than 100 colleges and universities were able to go to school because of these loans. nationwide, more than 539,000 students were helped. for many students these loans are the difference between staying in school and working towards a bright future on the one hand, or on the other hand literally dropping out of school. according to the coalition of higher education assistance organizations, one quarter, one quarter of all loan recipients are from families with incomes of less than $30,000 a year.
we all have examples in our states -- just give you one example from northwestern pennsylvania. part of our state system of higher education. one of the schools is edenboro university. i had a chance to speak at their graduation this year. a 2015 graduate of edenboro university in northwestern pennsylvania, nicki izolo, said the following. i'll read her words to you verbatim. this is taken from a letter she sent us. quote -- "i'm sending this to you to tell you that i just started my new job at high mark. high mark is a major company in western pennsylvania, health care company. she goes on to say i'm a single mom who wasn't your normal 20-year-old college student. i was an adult student who had
left school more than once when i thought i couldn't do it. the last time i came back, i was dedicated to getting my degree, but i didn't have enough financial aid to help me pay my bill. i had messed up along the way in school and used up my only chance of having a good life with my daughter. i want to thank -- thank you for the perkins aid that i needed in order to graduate. i'm proud to be a college grad, and my daughter is proud of me, too. she goes on from there to talk about the importance of this kind of support. so whether it's -- whether it's nicki in northwestern pennsylvania or kayla mcbride, a recent graduate of temple university, all the way to the other corner of our state in southeastern pennsylvania who talked about perkins loans, and i will put her statement in the
record, but in both cases they exemplify and validate the importance of the perkins loan program. since the 1960's, over 30 million students have been helped by perkins loans, and we have to do everything we can to continue the program. what we're trying to do now is very simple. we're trying to give us some time to fully update and reauthorize perkins loans so that all students have access to an affordable college education. so i would urge the majority to work with us on this bipartisan effort to allow the bill to pass so we can move forward and continue the perkins loan program even as we focus on changes in the future. and with that, mr. president, i would yield the floor. a senator: mr. president?
the presiding officer: the senator from texas. mr. cornyn: mr. president, last night, with an overwhelming vote, the senate passed an appropriation bill and then -- excuse me, ended debate that will conclude that period of postcloture period will run by midnight tonight. tomorrow morning, the senate will pass a continuing resolution appropriation bill that will keep the lights on and keep the federal government running. what i have told my constituents is the irony is we only appropriate funds for about 30% of the government, and half of that 30% roughly is for defense spending. 70%, as the presiding officer knows well, who is an expert in this area, is on auto pilot. since 2011, since the budget control act, we actually have done a remarkably decent job of
freezing the growth of discretionary spending. it's roughly at 2011 appropriation levels, but the problem is without bipartisan cooperation, we are unable to touch the 70% of government spending that's been growing by leaps and bounds, and that simply can't continue. so this year, for the first time since i believe it's 2009, under the new majority, the 114th congress actually passed a budget, and that was really a notable achievement. i'm also a little sheepish about mentioning that as an achievement because most people across america would think this is nothing to particularly be proud of. this is something that ought to happen routinely. and so why give anybody a pat on the back for doing something that they ought to do in the first place.
but our budgets have been missing under this administration, and literally the last budget that was passed was 2009. but one of the benefits of having a budget is you have a regular appropriations process. now, that may sound like getting in the weeds for most people, but this is the money that we should be appropriating subject to spending caps to keep the government running. things like military construction and veterans' benefits, things like paying our men and women in uniform through the defense appropriations bill. those are essential items i know we would all agree. but the only reason we had to deal with this drama of this so-called continuing resolution was because notwithstanding the facts that we actually passed a budget, notwithstanding the fact that the various appropriations subcommittees had passed a
budget, indeed the whole appropriation committee had voted them out and they were available for action on the floor, notwithstanding all of that, our friends across the aisle decided that they were going to block those appropriation bills, and given the fact that under the senate rules it takes 60 votes to close off debate, our only alternative was to pass a telecommunication, which i believe will fly out of here tomorrow morning with overwhelming support. but it's a terrible way to do business, and it creates needless uncertainty for the people who we ought to be caring a lot about, people like our veterans and our military service members. so even though we had the opportunity to move the appropriation process under what we call the regular order around here and not resort to this continuing resolution process, our democratic colleagues
decided instead to turn their misguided filibuster summer into an equally misguided filibuster fall. many of these bills, of course, came out with strong support. here's some of the oddity of this process. some of these bills that they blocked were the very same pieces of legislation they supported in the appropriations committee. for example, many of my colleagues from across the aisle praised elements of the defense appropriation bill only then to buckle under democratic leadership's pressure and twice blocked the bill from going forward. in some cases, our democratic colleagues were quick to send out press releases to their constituents back home celebrating their accomplishments under these very same bills and claiming a victory that would benefit their home state. that was true in particular of both of our colleagues
representing the state of new jersey. when the bill was overwhelmingly voted out of committee, our colleagues from new jersey applauded funding for a bill for f-16 fighters based in their state. the junior senator said, and i quote, the inclusion of this funding is a deserving victory for our u.s. air national guard. similarly, the senior senator said, and i quote, securing this funding in the department of defense appropriation bill is a win-win-win. but these same senators filibustered that bill on the senate floor. how do you explain that one back home? and they did that twice, along with virtually all of our democratic colleagues. unfortunately, the other 11 appropriation bills have made it -- haven't made it to the
senate floor because the majority leader recognizes it's probably a futile effort to do so. bills that many of these of our colleagues celebrated only then to refuse to take action that would move them forward at the behest of democratic leadership. so we didn't have to resort to this drama, and believe me our democratic colleagues have been beating the drum, saying there is going to be a shutdown, there is going to be a shutdown. well, they're the ones who created this crisis in the first place that necessitated the passage of a continuing resolution by filibustering the very same appropriation bills that many of them voted for in committee and sent out press releases, saying look at me, look at what i have done for my constituents. well, it's -- i don't know how to put a better word on it, mr. president. i think it reaction of hypocrisy, at the least. but i also believe that we have a responsibility, those of us who choose to operate in a
responsible fashion, by trying to govern the best we can, even in the face of such arbitrary hypocrisy by some of our opponents. by blocking on the floor the very same bills that they voted for in the appropriations committee, thus creating this crisis -- i put quotes around that. there never was really a crisis, because we knew we were going to do our job and make sure we kept the lights on, make sure we paid the money to our veterans for the benefits that they've earned, to make sure that our military who are -- many of whom are in harm's way defending our freedoms and those of our allies, we were going to make sure that they were going to be taken care of, but the idea that you would vote for bills in committee and then come to the floor and block them is hard to explain, and in fact i can't explain it other than using that
word hypocrisy. so, mr. president, another element of this discussion has been whether or not we would use this continuing resolution to cut off money to go to planned parenthood. now, planned parenthood, we know, is the largest abortion provider in america. well over more than 300,000 abortions done by planned parenthood facilities each year. but i want to the assure our democratic colleagues, even though they have filibustered our efforts to defund planned parenthood and to make sure that not one penny of tax dollars goes to support the number-one abortion provider in america, this fight is not over based on their filibustering of the defund planned parenthood legislation that we voted on or
their refusal to even consider the pain-capable abortion ban. you know, we've said it before, but it bears repeating. i think most people would be shocked to find out that the united states is only one of seven nations in the world that allows late-term abortions after a baby in utero is a viable human being. we are right there alongside the greater defenders of human rights, like china and north korea and vietnam. and while many states like my state have imposed limitations at the state level, i think it's appropriate for us to recognize that medical technology has now allowed us to save preterm babies that we could not in the past. in fact, the distinguished presiding officer, i believe, has shown me a picture on his
iphone of a child that was born that i believe weighed somewhere around a pound at 20 weeks or so. so we ought to be having this debate because i think what it reflects is who we are as a nation and whether we want to continue the sort of -- to subsidize the sort of horrific practices that we've seen depicted in some of these vide videos, and most of them involve late-term abortions, because that's where the money is; that's where planned parenthood harvests tissue from these late-term babies and then sells it. the only question is whether they do it with the appropriate legal informed consent and whether they do it for profit, as some of these videos would suggest, both of which, by the way, are required by -- or banned by currenc current law.
selling it for profit and doing it without informed consent. those are provisions of the law and we are conducting investigations to make sure that planned parenthood is not in violation of current law in addition to the steps that we've begun here to both make sure no tax dollars go to planned parenthood to subsidize their abortion practice, the largest abortion provider in the united states, and then to redirect that money to provide for women's health at community health centers and other places. you know, i was surprised, mr. president, thi -- this morni caught a glimpse of the hearing that's occurring in the house of representatives where cecile richards, the c.e.o. of planned parenthood was testifying.
somebody asked her about her compensation, and i was shocked that she said, well, i get paid $520,000 a year. $520,000 a year. and this money, the vast majority of the money that planned parenthood gets is federal tax dollars, primarily through medicaid. and so, in effect, the taxpayers were subsidizing the chief executive officer of planned parenthood, the number-one abortion prayer of the country, her salary of $520,000 a year. well, i remember after the financial crisis in 2008 a number of our colleagues would come to the floor and say, well shall we need to do something about these excessive salaries of people working in the fng services -- in the financial services industry. this is an outrage. i haven't heard one peep out of our colleagues across the aisle
about the $520,000 that cecile richards is paid each year as c.e.o. of planned parenthood, the number-one abortion provider in the country and someone -- and an entity subsidized mainly or in large part, i should say, about a half a billion dollar a year, by u.s. tax dollars. maybe that's a dugs we ough dise ought to have. but i think th -- the last thini want to say is i think it's important to stress in the context of this debate about the value and the meaning of human life that the fight is not over with this -- with the votes we've had so far. it's important to stress how some of the advocates back home -- in texas, for example, some of the strongest champions for the unborn in the country have made clear how they hope that
their elected representatives would respond to these horrific videos in the current debate. just yesterday the executive director for the texas alliance for life said that he applauded the strongests of the republicans in congress to move forward with the strategy of shifting funds from planned parenthood to better providers of women's health services, providers who are not part of the abortion industry. indeed, that's exactly what the texas legislature has done, but something we need to do here. in his statement, the doctor went on to say that instead of a government shutdown, better options exist for achieving success. well, this is similar to the statement made by carol t tobia, the leader of the national right-to-life organization.
congress has the opportunity to make progress with legislation that would further the cause for life and defend those who cannot defend themselves. and to put on record all 100 members of the united states senate. and i know many people would prefer to look the other way because of the gruesomeness of this practice, particularly as it regards late-term fetuses, children which, if born, even though they're not full term at 40 weeks, they could literally live out of the womb. in fact, neo-natalogists have demonstrated incredible capability at keeping these children alive, even if they are born preterm. and we will, i hope, take up -- have a vote on senator ben sasse -- senator ben sasse from nebraska has introduced a bill called "the born alive bill" which says that if a child is born alive as a result of a botched abortion, the health
care provider must do everything in their power to save and preserve that life. i think it's important to get every united states senator on record on that issue, because this is -- this is a little bit different than the issue of defunding planned parenthood. i think we ought to do both. we ought to ban funding of tax dollars for planned parenthood, the number-one abortion provider in the country, but we also ought to focus on the desensitization of america and the world to some of these horrific practices, some of which we were shocked by when kermit goznel, an abortion doctor in pennsylvania, would deliver these babies alive and then kill them. i know -- and people don't want to talk about it, they don't want to think about it; they prefer to just look the other way. we can't in the name of our very
humanity walk away. we're better to put people on the record here in the united states senate. that's what our plan is going forward, mr. president. with that, i'd yield the floor. mrs. murray: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: thank you, mr. president. i think a lot of people here talk about what they think everyone should be focused on, but what i think we should be focused on is that this month students across the country are making their way back to college campuses and, mr. president, when more americans pursue their degrees beyond high school, it's actually good for our country. it strengthens the middle class, it strengthens the workforce we'll need to compete in the 21st industry global economy. so here in congress, what i believe we should be working on are ways to help more people earn a degree and get a foothold
into the middle class. instead of helping students succeed, we're facing another deadline, and another artificial crisis. if we do not act in the senate, the perkins loan program will expire after tomorrow. that means that more than 100,000 students will no longer be eligible for this assistance over the next year. that is going to leave a lot of students in this country in the lurch. without perkins loans, students might have to take out higher loans that have higher interest rates and fewer repayment options so students would end up with a heavier burden of student debt or they might decide just not to enroll in the first place. that is the exact opposite outcome we need for the future of this economy. in my home state of washington, more than 15,000 students receive perkins loans -- received perkins loans last year.
that includes about 4,700 students from the university of washington. i want to make sure that the next class of students has the same opportunity so they can better afford college. we need to provide students with more support to manage rising college costs, not less. i'm hopeful that today we can extend the perkins loan program for one year while we work to reauthorize the higher education act, because there's no reason to block this bipartisan legislation that would give our students some certainty for next year. mr. president, the perkins loan program gives students with financial needs three things that private loans do not: the loans are low-cost. they do not accrue interest while a student is enrolled and for nine months afterward. that can reduce student debt by hundreds or even thousands of dollars. the loans provide flexible repayment terms, and they also give those who are interested in the public sector generous
forgiveness options. the nownow, the house of representatives has already acted to extend this program for one year. we should do the same before the clock runs out. i'm so glad this effort to extend the perkins loan program has strong bipartisan support here in the senate, and it would provide new students of some certainty for the current school year. today students face unpreceden unprecedented challenges in financing their education. the cost of college has skyrocketed, and many students are struggling under the crushing burden of student debt. preventing the perkins loan program from expiring will not solve all their problems, and i hope we can continue this department work on ways to make college more -- this bipartisan work on ways to make college more affordable, but passing this bill to extend the perkins loan program is a step we can take so students don't have the rug pulled out from under them. there's no reason students should have to face this
uncertainty, and there's no reason we shouldn't be able to pass this by unanimous consent. mr. president, i know firsthand how important education is for families and for our nation's middle class. when i was 15, my dad was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and in a few short years he couldn't work any longer. without warning, my family had fallen on hard times. but instead of falling through the cracks, my brothers and sisters and i got a good public education at our schools, and we had a country at our back that helped make sure that we were able to go to college with student loans and what's now known as pell grants. my nominee go mom got the skilld through a training programs. we never lost hope. with a good education we were able to find our footing and earn our way to a stable middle class life. mr. president, students at colleges and universities across
the country today are looking now to us to make sure they have a solid pathway into the middle class. so i urge my colleagues to support extending this program and make sure students have the financial aid tools they need so they can build their schools and grow our economy. -- and help lead the world in the 21st century. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. mr. portman: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from ohio. mr. portman: i would like to join my colleague from washington state in talking about the importance of extending the perkins loan program. the house has already acted on this. they extended it for one year. all we're asking is our colleagues on both sides of the aisle give us the opportunity thewetodo that here. this is a program that's working. i'm following a number of my completion todacolleagues todayg about this. we've heard from senator murray, senator collins, senator casey,
senator baldwin. it is an attempt on our part to ensure that students aren't going to fall through the cracks. they're go ting started this year in their colleges and universities and wondering is this program going to be there or are we going to allow it to expire? we have to make sure that this program to going to be here and they'll have the opportunity to get ahead by using this low-cost student loan option that's focused on the kids with the most need to get an education. since 1958 this program has been strong. one that works. by the way there is no appropriation involved here. it is a matter of letting the program continue. the program has what is called a revolving fund where when somebody gets a loan and pays that loan back, the money goes back to another student. so this is an opportunity for us to continue a program that's working. if we don't pass it, we're going to have a situation where new loans will not be awarded. college tuition is already too tough. i hear about it all the time from families back home, from
students back home. one of the biggest concerns they have, we had a teletown hall meeting last night and one of the biggest concerns people have of course is the cost of education. this is a way to ensure that young people can pursue their dreams despite the fact that college tuitions are too high in many cases. this is a tool that is incredibly important. it's also a matching program. it hasn't been talked about much on the floor today but the fact is this program is administered by the schools. the schools actually match so that they're providing some of the funding for this. that's another reason i like this program. there are 67 schools in my state of ohio. in the buckeye state we've got 67 colleges and universities that take advantage of this. i've gotten really interesting correspondence from some of those schools and students. last year there were 25,000 or so ohio students who received perkins lines. i heard from kent state. they got thousands of students involved in perkins there. i've also heard from other
schools. i've heard from toledo, oberlin, ohio wesleyan. mr. president, i would like, if i could, to get unanimous consent to include some of this correspondence in the record at this point because they describe the need for the program so well. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. portman: it's not just about ohio. it's about the entire country. there are 1,700 postsecondary students that take advantage of the program. allowing it to expire will affect all those students. tuitions are already too high. we should be making it easier, not harder for students to be able to pay for college. i've heard concerns from some of my colleagues that we shouldn't extend this and not allow unanimous consent to occur h here because they'd like to improve the program and maybe make the program work better, more targeted, update it, modernize it, make sure funds are allocated properly. i don't disagree with that at all. i agree that this program, like just about every other program
in the federal government, can be improved and that should be part of our work here. we should be reforming these programs so they are more efficient, move cost effective, getting to the people who need them most. while i agree we need to make changes, i think we should not take the step to allow it to expire. why? in effect, what we're doing there is saying it's going to be on the students, at the expense of those students who need the aid. it should be on us. we should be doing our work. i hope that we will go ahead and allow this extension to occur and then let's work on those solutions. i think it may be easier to have these reforms take place if we're not working under the gun. in other words, having allowed this program to expire. letting something lapse and trying to figure out how to bring it back is not the way the american people and the people i represent in ohio expect congress to work. i think they expect us to get our job done and i think we can do that with the extension. the department of education has already indicated to us that they may start recall funding in
october from colleges and universities if this program is not extended. by the way, not extending perkins won't help with the nation's budget problems, again, with this revolving fund and the way it works, one loan is paid back and another is extended. this is the right thing to do. as we ensure government continues to operate let's ensure the perkins loan does as well. i'd like to thank my colleagues on the other side of the aisle for their discussion today on this issue. i'd like to urge leadership on both sides of the aisle to focus on this issue. let's be sure and do what the senate should do along with the house. the house acted already for a one-year extension. let's do what the house did. let's ensure we're providing these loans for the students who need them while we continue our efforts to reform this program and make it even stronger going forward. thank you, mr. president. i yield back the balance of my time.
mr. menendez: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from new jersey. mr. menendez: mr. president, i rise today to hopefully prick the conscience of the senate and to ask the senate to honor the memory of james zadroga and all of those first responders who on september 11 responded to a national tragedy. i come to the floor to achieve a goal that i and others did in 2010, which was then to pass the 9/11 health and compensation act. and today is to seek to reauthorize it before it expires. jim zadroga was a new jerseyan, but he was also a hero who after september 11, 2001, ran towards
the world trade center, not away, to help us recover. but working on the side breathing in the smoke and dust and debris, unknown to him, he was developing an illness from which he would never recover. jim was the first emergency responder to die directly because of health effects from working at ground zero. and for years we had pieces of legislation in congress to right the wrong created when hundreds of emergency workers were left out of the world trade center emergency worker settlement. it took us nine years -- nine years -- to pass the original bill. so let's not let it expire tomorrow. let's send a clear message to our first responders, those who responded on that fateful day, and those who may be called upon to respond on some future
fateful day, that we will never forget what you did for your fellow citizens, for this nation on the day that changed the world. for jim zadroa who passed away and every other first responder sick because of their response to duty, and who -- some of who have died and left loved ones behind. if you told any american 14 years ago that we would let expire our commitment to provide for those who helped in the 9/11 recovery effort that their government would be slow to respond to their illnesses, their suffering and their sacrifices, no american, no american would believe it. but that's what we're on the verge of doing. that's exactly what we're on the verge of doing. we just had the september 11
commemoration. we all faithfully and responsibly went to remember the lives of those fellow americans who were lost. we all paid tribute to them and to those who sacrificed in response. and yet, here we are just a few weeks after on the verge of allowing the very law that helps those who did their duty, some who did beyond duty because they were first responds not even from the city of new york, but came from across the country to help in the aftermath. no american would believe that we're about to let this lapse. that's where we are, and it must change. this law is set to expire at midnight tomorrow. now there's still enough funding to pay our claims for months to follow, but the reauthorization bill that i and other colleagues have cosponsored is needed now for a number of reasons.
first and foremost, to provide the security, the peace of mind and reassurances to those first responders that these critical programs will last longer than just what the next couple of months funding will provide. it also permanently lifts the statute of limitations on the victims compensation fund to provide for those first responders who need access beyond next year. because we don't know what latent illness may befall them as a result of their sacrifice at ground zero. and very importantly, it exempts these key programs from the budget sequestration cuts that would hollow out the critical safety net that this program provides for those september 11 first responders. the sequestration which i voted against imposes arbitrary and capricious cuts to funding that will continue to provide care
and support to nose 9/11 heroes -- to those 9/11 heroes who sacrificed everything to help those in need on that tragic day. the fact is, mr. president, congress must act, and this time let's not wait for a public outcry before we ensure that these heroes receive the care and support they deserve. last week i stood with colleagues and first responders to call on all of us to do what is right and honor these heroic men and women. let's reauthorize the james zadroa health and compensation reauthorization act before it expires tomorrow. it's the least we can do to say thank you for the risks you took and the sacrifices you made. 14 years after the attacks, we still have a profound and moral obligation to take care of the brave men and women, the first responders who risked their lives and are now suffering
health effects as a result of their efforts. all of us remember that day. we remember where we were on the day that changed the world. we remember that it brought us closer together as families, as a community, one nation indivisible. this is not a new york or a new jersey issue. nearly every state in the nation has a first responder or more who ultimately will benefit from the fund because of an illness they've contracted or a loved one they've left behind. this is the reason -- i should say there is a reason, there is a reason we call this great country the united states of america. because in fact, whether there are wildfires in the west, flooding in the mississippi or any other great consequence to our country, we take care of our
own collectively. and in fact, this is a moment to take care of those who we in fact have heralded as heroes. it's not simply enough to say so in words. you have to do so in deeds. we should remember that feeling that we had on that day and subsequent in the days afterwards and act on it and honor the heroic actions of men and women like jim zadroga and reauthorize the bill. with that, mr. president, i yield the floor and observe the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
mr. durbin: i ask unanimous consent the quorum call be suspended and ask to speak in morning business. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: mr. president, in recent years, we have faced a lot of difficulty filling positions for service to our federal government, not the least of which for critical diplomatic posts around the world. we've seen delays in confirming federal judges. one of the most important duties of the senate. these men and women are chosen for life appointments. the most frustrating part of this is that virtually all of these nominees should be confirmed with overwhelming support. to be nominated by the president
or the white house for an ambassadorial spot or even a federal judgeship, you go through a clearance process in the beginning for the white house to choose this person, then a background check, and it is a pretty extensive background check, and then eventually if the white house is satisfied, this person is fit for the job with no obstructions to their moving forward, they send them to congress, and it goes all through this process all over again. so these nominees have been vetted once, twice, three times before they finally reach the point where there's a vote on the nominee in a committee on capitol hill in the senate, and if they clear that vote and it's a partisan vote, if they clear that vote, then they make it to the executive calendar. it takes a long time. and while this is going on, people are sitting there in suspense as to whether or not they're going to be selected, and when they finally might get
a chance to serve. for some reason, we have seen a virtual stand still since the republicans have taken control of the senate when it comes to filling critical positions appointed by the president. it's really time for us to schedule up-or-down votes on more than 27 foreign affairs and judicial nominees who are waiting for floor action. given the foreign policy challenges that we face around the world, the delay in considering nominations for our ambassadors and other critical foreign policy positions is just inexcusable. many come to the floor on the other side of the aisle every day to criticize the president and his foreign policy, and yet when he asked for men and women to serve and represent the united states in foreign countries, they languish on the calendar. most of the people languishing on the calendar for ambassadorial spots are not political. they're professional. they're men and women who have served our government through
democratic and republican administrations, have developed a good reputation and now are moving up to a new responsibility. why in the world is the republican majority refusing to allow these men and women to serve the united states? i don't understand it. i think it's dangerous. i think some people are putting politics ahead of national security. as of today, we have at least 11 foreign affairs nominees on this senate executive calendar. typically, the vast majority of those nominees move quickly in a bipartisan manner. however, over the past few years, that's all changed. everything's political now. last year, the senate republicans held up more than 30 nominees at various times. at least ten of them were held over from the last congress. most astonishingly, on the senate executive calendar today, at a time when the international community is facing a terrible conflict in syria, is a
professional named gayle smith. she is a qualified nominee who wishes to serve as the head of a.i.d., agency for international development. what does that agency do? that agency provides food and medicine to the refugees of the syrian war. it's a big process. it has to be moved into countries and into refugee camps in massive amounts to keep innocent people, victims of this war, alive. gayle smith has been waiting for weeks if not months for approval. so what's so controversial about her? the only controversy is she was chosen by president obama. she is imminently qualified. no one has raised any question about her competency to do this job. she came to see me a week or two ago. she's anxious to serve our government, and the job she has to do is critically important at this moment in history. and yet, she languishes on this senate executive calendar not approved.
so there is no nominal leader of this massive agency which is responsible for the well-being of so many innocent people. there are another ten just like her, and in addition to this, three dozen more await confirmation in the senate foreign relations committee. many of them have had hearings. they just sit there. this includes people like jeffrey hawkins to be the next u.s. ambassador to the central african republic. now, most of us would struggle to find that on a map. the fact is that country is facing its own conflict that has displaced more than half a million people, and yet the post of u.s. ambassador to that country goes vacant, not because of any controversy by jeffrey hawkins. the fact that he was chosen by this president. that's it. that's the only complaint. it also includes roberta jacobson who has been named as the next ambassador of mexico. roberta is a seasoned diplomat who would be a great asset to a
country that's our neighbor and closest ally among latin american countries. it includes daniel rubenstein to be the next ambassador to tunisia, one of the few countries to emerge from the arab spring as a functioning democracy. in total, some of these posts have been vacant for more than a year, despite the president's efforts to fill them. other nominees are supposed to replace current ambassadors that are looking forward to moving to their next post. they can't do it. why? the senate doesn't want to call them for a vote. that's a decision to be made by the republican majority. mr. president, it's a shame that our nominees, many of whom are noncontroversial, have distinguished careers in the foreign service, languish on the senate executive calendar for months at a time, and in some cases a year. there used to be a spirit of bipartisanship when it came to national security, one that had a long and proud tradition. i hope the majority now will return to that proud tradition.
we have a similar delay when it comes to judges. so far this year, this year -- and here we are in the month of september, near the end of it, coming into october. so far this year, the republican-controlled senate has held confirmation votes on six judges, six, all year. well, you say the president only has two years left. maybe it's normal that you wouldn't approve a judge for a lifetime appointment if he only has a little over a year left now. during president george w. bush's final two years in office, the democratic-controlled senate confirmed 68 judicial nominees. six so far this year. by the republicans. at this point in 2007, the democratic senate had confirmed 29 of president bush's judicial nominees. that's nearly five times the number that have been cleared by the republican senate, despite the fact that there is no
controversy involving any of these nominees. there are 16 noncontroversial judicial nominees currently pending on the senate calendar whom we could confirm right away. seven of these nominees would fill judicial emergencies. that means they are being sent to courthouses where the cases are stacking up and people are asking when am i going to get my day in court? well, you won't get your day in court until the new judge gets his day in the senate, and we don't know when that might happen. there is no reason to delay these confirmation votes. these nominees will be confirmed with overwhelming support, and we need to put an end to the vacancies on the federal bench. overall, there are 67 vacant federal judgeships now, 31 of which have been designated as judicial emergencies. most of those vacancies are from states where there is at least one republican senator, and what that means is that nominee would not even be on the calendar were it not for the approval of that republican senator, so they have bipartisan support. i urge my republican colleagues to work in good faith to fill
these vacancies on the federal bench. this is an important responsibility of the senate. we shouldn't neglect it. the vast majority of nominees could be confirmed today, and if debate is needed on a few of them, so be it. if a roll call is needed, let's have it. we can't just leave vacant, important positions in our government and our judicial system unfilled. 16 judicial nominees, 11 nominees for foreign affairs. we could vote on that this afternoon. are we holding off the vote because we're too busy on the senate floor? if you're following the senate, you know that isn't the case. it's time for us to do our jobs so these nominees can do theirs. for the sake of national security and our system of justice, let's move forward in a bipartisan fashion and vote on these nominees. mr. president, if there's no one else seeking recognition, i ask consent to make a statement to be placed in a separate part of the record. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. durbin: thank you, mr. president. another school year has begun.
in august, i marked the occasion by holding a press conference outside of argasy university. don't be surprised if you haven't heard the name argasy university. it's a for-profit college in downtown chicago. this for-profit college is part of an industry that enrolls 10% of all college students of for-profit colleges in universities, 10% of the students. they take in 20% of all the department of education financial aid, and here's the kicker. for-profit colleges and universities account for 44% of all the student loan defaults. 10% of the students, 44% of the student loan defaults. why does that happen? well, because of several things. first, they're very expensive. they accept anyone, virtually
anyone. many of the students start going to these for-profit schools and realize they are getting too deep in debt and they drop out. then they have the worst world, a student debt and no degree. some of them finish the school, finish the course and are given a diploma, and they find out that they can't get a job with it. when you look at the brookings institution's recent study of for-profit schools, they rank last when it comes to good-paying jobs after college. and then what happens? the students can't make enough money to pay off their student loans and they default. that, sadly, is a cycle that is faced -- that has faced thousands of students across america. this industry's in trouble. it's in such trouble that many of the large for-profit schools are threatened and some have collapsed. the largest corinne than -- corinne thee an college. this for-profit university sent shockwaves through the industry. they raked in profits, leaving
students with mountains of debt, and then when they were asked to prove to the federal government that their students actually got a job after they graduated, they falsified the returns to the federal government. when they were challenged, they went under, they sunk. and when they sunk, look what happened. the students who had gone to school there were told corinthian just disappeared, you no longer have a university. then they learned the courses they took couldn't be transferred to any other school, except for maybe another for-profit school somewhere. the net result of it is students had an option, give up whatever credits they had at corinthian and walk away with their student loans, keep their corinthian credits and pay their student loans. the students who walked away from their student loans, of course, created an obligation to federal taxpayers who had to make up the difference. argosy university is another one of these for-profit colleges.
it's owned by education management corporation. it's one of these companies that is also being looked at very carefully. students who walk through argosy's doors in chicago or surf their ads online and consider enrollment should know the company that runs this school, argosy university, is under investigation by at least 14 different state attorneys general for unfair and deceptive practices. in 2013, the colorado attorney general sued edmc that owns argosy for deceiving, misleading and financially injuring students. the colorado attorney general investigation centered on argosy and found a long, elaborate pattern of deceptive behavior by the school. that's not all. edmc is also being sued by the department of justice under the federal false claims act for falsely certifying compliance with provisions of federal law. it turns out that they are incentivizing people to sign up students at their schools, these for-profit schools. they give them a signing bonus
if they can lure some young student into signing up. that violates the law. in addition, san francisco city attorney found that edmc that runs argosy engaged in marketing tactics that underestimated program costs for students and inflated job placement figures. they were just flat outlying to these kids. according to the department of education, edmc is considered not financially responsible. it's been placed on their heightened cash monitoring status. the company withdrew its cash on trading because it no longer wanted to make a public filing with the s.e.c. if you make a filing with the s.e.c. and lie you go to jail. they withdrew their stock rather than be caught lying. in addition, an argosy student will pay about $34,000 in tuition to this for-profit school.
$34,000. two blocks away, the students at chicago city college are also getting the same degree and the cost there: $7,000. $34,000 at argosy, $7,000 at the city colleges. incidentally, the hours at the city college are transferable to other colleges. not at argosy. one in 50 students at harold washington are likely to default when it comes to paying their student loans. one out of 50. at argosy, one out of seven. it is just too darn expensive. these kids can't pay back the loans. the recent brookings report found that argosy university in chicago is number nine on the list of student loans, a total of $6.2 billion -- billion. the top 25 schools on the list,
13 are for-profit colleges and account for 10% of all the outstanding student loan debt in america. i want to close -- i see my colleague is on the floor seeking recognition. i'm going to close by using one more example. i.t.t. tech, sounds great, dng it? it's number 16 on the list at brookings. stiewjtss owe $4.6 billion in loans. it is not surprising. an associate's degree, a two-year degree at i.t.t. tech costs $47,000 and the students have a chance -- one out of five chance of defaulting on the longeloans they make at that sc. meanwhile, i.t.t. tech, which does business in chicago, arlington heights, oakbrook, has been under investigation by at least 18 state attorney generals for unfair and deceptive practices, sued by the new mexico attorney general for misrepresentation to students about their accreditation status, sued by the consumer financial protection bureau.
the point i a i'm getting to ise are subsidizing these schools. this is the most heavily subsidized for-profit business in america. 80 to 85% of their business comes stright from the federal revenue. think about the university of phoenix, devry, kaplan -- if all of that money were combined this would be the ninth-largest federal agency in washington. but instead the c.e.o.'s that run these for-profit companies are making a ton of money. the top man at the university of phoenix, the biggest one, $9 billion a year. how's that for being a college president? and some of these other ones -- small change: $3 million a year. they get to run these for-profit schools while these kids stack up the debt, end up defaulting, and end up with their lives ruined. the incident will youally, defan a debt means you still owe it to the grave. they are not dischargeable from
bankruptcy. i could go down a long list here. i hope congress comes to senses when the college education bill comes. this ripoff has to come to an end. i yield the floor. mr. sanders: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. sand sand thank you, mr. president. -- mr. sanders: thank you, mr. president. mr. president, i rise to discuss one of the major crises facing our health care system today, and that is that the pharmaceutical industry itself has become a major health hazard to the american people. the pharmaceutical industry in this country is charging the american people, by far, the
highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. the result of that is that one out of five americans, including patients suffering from cancer, who get a prescription from a doctor are unable to afford to fill that prescription. this is totally absurd. the result of that is that americans who are unable to buy the drugs that were prescribed to them become much sicker than they should have been and, in some cases, they die. the result is also that people will end up in the emergency room or in the hospital at great expense to themselves and the system because they were unable to afford the drugs which would have improved their health.
as dr. marcia angel, a senior lecturer in social medicine at harass vrharvard medical schooly wrote in "the washington post," and i quote, "why do drug companies charge so much? because they can." end of quote. simple truth. there's not a rational economic reason for it. they charge outrageously high prices because nobody is stopping them in this country. mr. president, the united states is the only major country on earth -- the only one -- that does not in one form or another regulate prescription drug prices. and what that means is you could walk into the drugstore and the pharmacist tomorrow and you can find that the price that you are
paying for a drug thatter you've been use -- that you've been using for many years has doubled, tripled or gone up ten times, and the united states congress has chosen to be the only major country on earth that does not address this issue. let me just give you a few examples, some of which have received a good deal of attention recently. in the united states, daraprim, a drug used to treat patient diagnosed with cancer and aids, shot up in price from $18 a bill -- $18 billion -- to $750 a bill literally overnight after this drug was acquired by a former hedge fund manager by the name of martin skrelli, who is quickly becoming the poster child of pharmaceutical greed.
mr. president, this same exact drug sells for $.66 a pill in britain. $.66 a pill i wil in britain, ad mr. skrelly. is charging the american people $750 for a drug usinged to treat patients with cancer and aids. mr. president, that makes no sense to me, and it makes no sense to the american people. so last week congressman elijah cummings and i sent a letter to mr. skrelli asking him to explain why the price of this drug has skyrocketed by over 4,000%. now, the good news -- or it appears to be the good news -- is that mr. skrelli recently
said that he would lower the price of this lifesaving drug, although he has not yet indicated what the new price will be. but, let us be very clear: this is just one of many, many examples of price-gouging within the pharmaceutical industry. let me give you another. in the united states, the prescription drug sovaldi, which is used to treat a very serious and widespread disease, hepatitis-c, cost $1,000 a pill. $1,000 a pill. in europe, the same exact drug made by the same exact company costs $555 a pill. and in egypt and india, the same drug costs $11 a pill.
now, mr. president, the cost of this drug has become so expensive that medicaid and the veterans administration and many, many veterans are suffering with hepatitis-c, both medicaid and the v.a. are rationing access to sovaldi and other blockbuster hepatitis-c drugs to only the sickest patients. in other words, people in the united states are dying and suffering because they or the government programs they rely on -- medicaid or the v.a. -- are simply unable to afford the outrageous prices that this company is chargin charging mr. president, according to a recent article in the "atlantic" magazine, despite rationing
solvaldi, the state of new mexico -- and i'm just taking new mexico as one example; this is taking place all across the country -- the state of new mexico will spend $140 million this year on that drug alone. and i should tell you that this issue first came to my attention as the former chairman of the veterans' committee when the v.a. requested an additional $1.3 billion for that particular drug. $1.3 billion for one drug. mr. president, this is unacceptable, and it has got to change. now, mr. president, last year the pharmaceutical industry, shock of all shocks -- i know the american people will be very surprised to hear this -- but
the pharmaceutical industry spent $250 million on lobbying and campaign contributions, and they employed some 1,400 lobbyists. well, that is what you get when you spend a quarter of a billion dollars and you have 1,400 lobbyists here on capitol hill. what you get is the ability to rip off the american people, to charge our people prices far, far higher than t do the peoplen any other country on earth pay. and you have the three largest drug companies in this country making $45 billion in profit last year. so that's not a bad investmen i, hey. just spread the money around here on capitol hill, $250
million, throw in some campaign contributions, and the three largest drug companies make $45 billion in a year. but meanwhile, all over this country, one out of five americans cannot afford to fill their prescriptions, people die, people become sick, state governments spend huge sums of money on these drugs, because they are so expensive. mr. president, the time has come to say loudly on the one hand clearly -- to say loudly and clearly that, yes, the drug companies make a lot of campaign contributions, but maybe, just maybe, congress might have the radical idea that it is more important for us to represent our constituents than the people who throw all kinds of money at us here in congress. mr. president, it is unacceptable that total spending on medicine in the united states has gone up by more than 90%
since 2002. it is unacceptable that the monthly cost of cancer drugs has more than doubled over the last ten years to $9,900 a month. in the united states of america, you should not be forced into bankruptcy because you are diagnosed with cancer. mr. president, it is time -- in fact, the time is long overdue for our country and our congress to join the rest of the industrialized world by implementing prescription drug policies that work for everybody and not just the owners of the pharmaceutical industry, and that is why i recently introduced legislation to lower the cost of prescription drugs in america. that legislation is cosponsored
by senator al franken of minnesota and introduced in the house by congressman elijah cummings. specifically, this is what that bill would do. number one, it requires medicare to use its bargaining power to negotiate with the prescription drug companies for better prices. a practice that was banned by the bush administration several years ago. number two, this bill would allow individuals, pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from licensed canadian pharmacies where drug prices are significant lower than they are in the united states. mr. president, i would like to introduce into the record a comparison of the prices of some drugs in the united states with canada. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. sanders: thank you. let me just give you a